The Bharatiya Janata Party termed as "baseless" allegations that some of its senior leaders had business relations with controversial corporate lobbyist Niira Radia and said it was initiating legal action against those who levelled the charges.
"A particular news organisation has made some serious allegations against some of our senior leaders and Congress party feels these allegations have come to its rescue. We find this is a completely unethical piece of journalism which invites a strong reaction and strong action," Leader of the Opposition in Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley said.
Rao Dheeraj Singh, who BJP alleged "curiously happens to be very closely related to a very senior Congress politician", has made certain allegations against senior party leader L K Advani, party president Nitin Gadkari and general secretary Ananth Kumar. Jaitley refuted the four allegations made against the BJP leaders.
"He has alleged that the National Democratic Alliance government alloted land to a Trust controlled by this lady (Radia). The NDA government has never has alloted any land to a Trust controlled by her,"Jaitley said. He denied Advani had attended a function of that Trust. "He has never attended any programme of any Trust controlled by this lady. The only function that Advani has attended in 2002 in Vasant Kunj is of a religious organisation of Pejavar Swamy who is a well known Hindu saint. The saint has himself clarified the land was alloted to him by the United Front government," Jaitley said.
The BJP also denied that the allegation that "some helicopters were purchased in 2002 where Radia's business had been promoted." "Karnataka never had a BJP or NDA government at that time when the reference has come. Our party president's name has been brought in. He was not even aware of the existence of this lady till a few weeks ago. This name was unknown to him, he has clarified that.
"During the period being referred to, Gadkari was the Leader of the Opposition in the Legislative Council (of Maharashtra)," Jaitley said. The eminent lawyer said Kumar has been advised by the party to "immediately take action against the maker of this allegation" and the news channel involved.
He said that the party has decided to react and also take action. If the channel has any proof let them prove their credentials in the court of law. " This sort of yellow journalism is totally uncalled for," he added.
He wondered how someone could take the statement of a man who has recently been released from jail at the face value and treat it as gospel truth.
"The initial (legal) action will commence tonight itself," Jaitley said. The party is likely to file a criminal case against Rao Dheeraj Singh in a Bangalore court, sources said. Another charge against the NDA government was of leaking cabinet papers when it was in power. This wasrubbished by BJP. "Making a generalised statement that cabinet papers were leaked.... Which cabinet papers relating to which issue? We are all oblivious of this," Jaitley said. The Rajya Sabha MP said the allegation that Kumar had a Swiss account in Zurich has not been substantiated. "Which account, what details? He (Ananth Kumar) has categorically denied this. We don't have any details of any account," Jaitley said.
With PTI inputs